July 13, 2009

City starts fiscal year in the red

The city is starting its fiscal year with a significant deficit.

Though finance officials said Monday they can't yet determine how deep a hole the city is already in, they are sure the budget ended the fiscal year in June in the red.

City Comptroller Glenn Klocko said the city received less money than expected from building permit fees and conveyance taxes. It also faces a hefty tab for legal bills it hadn't planned for, he said.

“It's definitely an area of concern,” Mayor Art Ward said.

Though the shortfall is likely less than $1 million out of a $170 million spending plan, the city was already bracing for a difficult budget year The deficit just makes the job harder.

Putting the biggest crimp in the bottom line is a $375,000 bill from attorneys representing the cityin litigation involving its former landfill, which is leaking polluted water into the groundwater of neighboring parcels.

“That hart us. It really did,” Klocko said.

Ward said the city asked the law firm to review its billing to see if the figures could be lowered.

He said, though, that the legal bills “are just mounting and mounting and mounting.”

Klocko said the city anticipated lower revenues from building permits and conveyance taxes paid when real estate is sold, but didn't figure the hit would be as hard as it turned out.

The numbers wound up “far lower than expected., Klocko said.

The city won't have even a preliminary deficit figure until mid-November, Klocko said, when the draft financial report is ready. A final report is typically done in late December.

In the meantime, officials said, they're going to try even harder to squeeze city spending to try to close the gap.

“We need to monitor everything to a greate degree,” the mayor said, and search for ways to pare costs.

Klocko said the city's been doing all it can to contain expenses without slicing the services it offers. There's not much more it can do, he said, unless officials agree to reduce services or find some way to streamline government.

Klocko said the city did everything it could to minimize the impact of the economic downturn, but its options are limited.

“If a president can't do it, certainly it can't be done at a local level,” Klocko said.


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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stortz warned them two years ago that revenues would be an issue, gut they still projected liberally so as to look good.

And they did the same thing thing year.

Just how much will Ward use the Fund balance and how much will it cost us in the years to come????

Anonymous said...

Klocko stuck it to Ward: they desreve each other.

Anonymous said...

What an idea streamline government? Hmmm...I wonder if that would make the union happy?

Anonymous said...

Why did he not come out with this during the budget process?
The indicators had to be there!

Another snow job by Ward and Klocko!

And we will be paying for it!

Anonymous said...

If Klocko cannot come up with a good estimate by September 1, he should not have this job.

All the revenue he mentioned, and others sources also should be pretty well solidified by then.

And while some bills may be outstanding, he should be aware of any large ones.

Of course it is to Wards advantage to have this go past the election, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

And the board of education is in the hole too?

Anonymous said...

What do we have lawyers on staff for if we are going to farm out legal work to high priced Hartford law firms??

Anonymous said...

Klocko should be fired.

Anonymous said...

Klocko is the one who artificially inflated estimates from Therese Pac in order to make his budget look better and pass the buck. I bet he didn't think it would come back to roost so soon. He really is unbelievable.

As to the legal fees - that is just poor planning on the city's part - its not like this is NEW litigation and our esteemed mayor was on the council throughout the years it was ongoing.

Anonymous said...

Does Klocko really think that he sounds intelligent in this mess he has gotten us in? He and the BOF should be replaced - is the tail wagging the dog or what?

Anonymous said...

When was the last time the city ran a deficit?

realistic said...

ever notice that no one on this site ever offers anything positive? In spite of these idiots, the city survives.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the headline should read "City ENDS fiscal year in red".


We are not even one month into the new year, but even the great Klocko can't predict that far ahead.

Steve Collins said...

6:28 - Ending one fiscal year in the red is the same as starting the next fiscal year in the red. It's purely semantics.
But since it's already mid-July, I went with the new year instead of casting back to the old.

Anonymous said...

Just about every major retail store, business, industry, hospital, automotive dealership, newspaper, municipality, State, etc. is starting off the year in the red or in bankruptcy. Why do people think the financial situation of Bristol should be any different? Are our expectations that incredibly high or are people in Bristol simply too political, ignorant or mean? Read the papers and watch the news. We are in a recession! Individuals, corporations and government do no make money in recessions. Maybe instead of raising the bar during this difficult period in history, we all need to lower it a bit. regardless who is in charge or running the show, we are in a recession.

Anonymous said...

While iti s too early to tell, since it takes awhile to audit the books, I think you will find that most municipalities will not end the year in the red.

However, I live in BRISTOL and that is the town I am concerned about.

Please point what has been done to have prevented this, or mitigated it.
Clearly the city overestimated revenue, even though the warning signs were there.

Totally inept management.

Anonymous said...

Ward is killing this city by his lack of fiscal knowledge. Guess sitting on the council for 14 years proves he knows nothing.

Anonymous said...

10:03AM

We're in a R-E-C-E-S-S-I-O-N. Attempts to mitigate it have been futile (as are your feebile attempts at trying to pin the failed economy on the present management). You may only be concerned about Bristol, but if you'd open your eyes and look around you'd see that we've actually done much better than many others.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are in a recession, and that means cutting back!

Tell me, where has Ward done that?

Keep in mind that not only did he go OVER budget, but he actually increased the approved budget.

In a recession.

Looks like poor management to me.

Or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

What is the estimated or projected deficit?

Heard it is close to TWO MILLION DOLLARS!

Can anyone verify?

Odin said...

News flash to all you nit-wits who complain that Ward has done nothing to deal with the fiscal crisis that every city in America is facing: he doesn't approve the budget. The Board of Finance approves the budget. If you think it's too rich, or too lean, or your taxes are too high, blame Rich Micznekowski and the rest of the Board of Finance. For good or for bad, it's THEIR budget, not the Mayor's.

Anonymous said...

The mayor appoints the BOF members!

They, this BOF, reponds to the mayors wishes!

The mayor operates the city and is spoosed to be responsible for what happens, especially day by day thru the year!

If he didn't agree with and go along with what they were doing and what was happening, how come he didn't say anything?

You sound like him, blaming everyone else.

Anonymous said...

"You sound like him, blaming everyone else."


...and as per your usual comments, you blame everything on him. Sounds kinda like a personal problem.

Anonymous said...

Ward is the person in the mayors chair. He sought the job. If he can't do it, he should get out.

But blaming everyone else shows no class

Anonymous said...

Heard that it might be even more.

That is why Ward is not talking.

Anonymous said...

The board of education is contributing to the red ink which is why it is getting so big.

Anonymous said...

Prediction:

The fiscal situation will be a lot worse than Ward is telling us right now: he is trying to hide his blunders.

Actually he is dragging the city into a deep hole.

Who will be able to get us out of it?

Anonymous said...

The Board of Ed is controlled by the Democrat town Committee, which is controlled by Art Ward.

Case closed!

Anonymous said...

"blaming everyone else shows no class"

Ward hasn't blamed anyone for anything...just more false accusations on your part. Once again, sounds like a personal problem.

Anonymous said...

Ward certainly has pointed fingers at the state, especially Rell.

And at the whole economy.

But HE is the mayor, the one that controls local spending, from frivolous use of energy, to over use of street sweepers, and he is the one that controls Klocko who estimates (over estimates) revenue.

The buck stops with him, except when he passes it off!.

Anonymous said...

Steve, it is NOT a matter of semantics!
The city closes the books and they are audited for that fiscal year.
Each year starts anew. Surpluses are NOT rolled over into the next budget, Deficits have to come out of reserves.
Each year is a finite entity and the city is eveluated accordingly.

Anonymous said...

The worst is yet to come: Ward is leading us down a slippery slope.

Anonymous said...

Klocko: options are limited only by Wards reluctance to act and YOUR unwillingness to provide adequate data and ideas.

And we suffer for it.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Any update on the deficit?